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Contribution of Indian geographers in the evolution of geographical thought

The history of Indian geography is as old as the history of Indian civilization. Although, a systematic account of geographical knowledge is not mentioned in any particular book geographical knowledge can be seen in Vedic text, Hindu mythology, Purana, and epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Geographical knowledge also can be seen in Jain and Buddhist texts book.

For example,

  • In Rigveda, information on many rivers particularly the Indus river system was mentioned. The Idea of 10-direction directions was also mentioned in the Rig Veda.
  • In Vedic text, the concept of nine planets ( 9 Graha) is mentioned. We still use to pray on nine planets in Hindu religious rituals. The concept of the nine planets is 100 % true in modern geography. However as per Vedic text names of the nine planets are Sun, Moon, Earth, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu. 
  • In Ramayana epics, geographical knowledge such as mountains, topography, plateau, hills, inhabitants, oceans, and important places has been mentioned from the Himalayan in the north to Sri Lanka in the South.
  • In the Mahabharata, wide geographical knowledge of Arya Varta and many kingdoms are mentioned.
  • In the Jatak Katha, information on many places and forest-related to Buddha's life was mentioned.

According to the Purana, there were seven Dwipas ( islands) in the world namely:

  • Saka Dwipa
  • Plaka Dwipa
  • Puskara Dwipa
  • Salamali Dwipa
  • Kusha Dwipa
  • Jambu Dwipa

Most of the geographical area of Asia including the Indian subcontinent was part of Jambu Dwipa.

The following are prominent Indian geographers who contributed to the evolution of geographical thought:

  • Valmiki
  • Aryabhatta [ 500 CE]
  • Varahamihira [ 587 CE ]
  • Bhaskaracharya [ 1100 CE ]
  • RP Mishra

Contribution of Rishi Valmiki to geography:

Rishi Valmiki mentioned the 6 types of seasons in his holy text " RAMAYANA". Name of the six seasons is Basant (Spring), Grisham ( summer), Varsha ( monsoon), Sharad ( Autumn), Hemant ( winter), and Shishir ( Severe winter). He also mentioned the characteristics of each season and the Basant ( spring) season is best among them.

Contribution of Aryabhatta [ 500 CE] to geography:

The term Bhugol( that is geography) was first time mentioned in Surya Sidhanta written by Aryabhatta around 500 CE. In the book, the diameter of the earth was calculated as 8,000 miles( very close to modern calculation). 

In Surya Siddhanta, we can find much geographical knowledge such as the spherical shape of Earth, calculation of Yugas ( geological time), eclipse, and color of the eclipse.

Aryabhataa pointed out that a lunar eclipse happens due to the shadows of the earth on the moon.

Contribution of Varahamihira to geography:

Most of the geographical knowledge of Varahamihir was mentioned in his book "Panch Sichdhantika".

Varahmihra explained the eclipse concept. As per Varahmihra, if solar and lunar eclipses occurred in the same month, it leads to disaster. It was also forbidden to see the eclipse from the naked eye. Modern geographers and scientists also suggest the same things.

Varahamihira also mentioned the spherical shape of the earth and the earth attracts all the things towards it due to gravitational forces.

Contribution of Bhaskaracharya to geography:

Bhaskaracharya wrote a treatise on the gravitational force of the earth. He also told that all the celestial bodies move in their orbits in the universe due to their attractive powers and remain stable.

Bhaskaracharya also calculated the circumference and diameter of the earth which is very close to modern calculations.

Contribution of R.P Mishra to geography:

RP Mishra has contributed to regional geography. As per R.P. Mishra, there should be five levels of growth location in larger countries for regional planning. The five levels are: 

  • Growth poles 
  • Growth center 
  • Growth point
  • Services Center 
  • Market village

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24 August 2022 at 20:22 ×

How can I download these notes. I cannot read through mobile phone, I prefer PDFs

Congrats bro Unknown you got PERTAMAX...! hehehehe...